I’m a self-proclaimed gear junkie. I have a small obsession with trying and using all of the coolest or latest goodies. REI is my second home.  Based on my trials, there are some handy items that are finding their way into my pack on a regular basis because they serve some type of valuable purpose, both luxury and basic.  Since Christmas is just around the corner, you may still be looking for the perfect gift to get your outdoor friend.  I thought it the perfect time to share Hiker at Heart’s list of TOP TEN favorite BACKPACKING GEAR.


  1. PlatyPreserve wine holder – …I can tell that no one is shocked by item in my pack!  It perfectly fits a bottle of your favorite wine and is designed to keep the quality and flavor of the wine for a few days on the trail.  Better yet, get one for you and ALL your friends so you can all bring wine along to share…and leave the bottles and boxes behind. Bonus:  It can also double as a water container after you have emptied it.

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    Enjoying a good quality Malbec with a 5 Star view. 
  2. Snow Peak 600 Titanium mug – Not only do I love how light-weight this mug is, but I love that for solo trips, it’s really the only “pot” that I need for heating water for my meals. I can heat up a cup of water for food or coffee directly on the stove; even put it over a campfire if need be. At a mere 3.0 oz, it’s a great item for light weight backpackers.

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    Hot drinks have never been easier on cold days.
  3. Sea to Summit 2.8 L X-Pot – For group trips, this is my go-to pot.  The silicone sides are super easy to clean.  It wins my vote for packability since it collapses in on itself; taking up way less real estate in my pack. I love that the lid has a strainer feature to drain water off my pasta!  I can also store my pot scraper, spoon and fire starter inside the collapsed pot for easy access.

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    A pot doesnt need to take up your entire pack.  Perfect pasta awaits. 
  4. Hydroflask – These bottles may be a touch heavy, but for weather extremes (hot and cold) they are a Godsend .  I love that on winter trips, I can make a hot coffee or soup in the morning and have it be hot at lunch to warm me up on the trail. I also love that I can put a cold beer in one on a hot summer day and enjoy it in perfect condition at dinner.

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    My beer is still cold and fizzy by dinner ? Call this one a luxury.. but a definite winner. 
  5. MSR Pocket Rocket –  I have tried several stoves over the years and the pocket rocket canister stove continues to make its way into my pack on almost every trip,  especially when I’m aiming to go light.  This stove is ultra small, light weight and super efficient. Pair with the titanium mug and you have the perfect cook set

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    Yes, I cook gourmet on this stove too ! 
  6. Ur Sak S29.3 AllWhite– In full disclosure, my bag hasn’t undergone a grizzly attack to date, but I feel better knowing my food is tied up securely (in bear country… or not) in this sack. I’ve used it in grizzly country, black bear territory, and just to deter the forest critters from finding a midnight snack. To date, I’ve had no intruders. I pair this with OPsak Odor proof bags.   UrSak is made of “bullet proof” Spectra fabric and they claim to prevent bears from getting your food.  It weighs 7.8 ounces and holds about 10.6 Liters ! Pretty incredible. When a canister is not required, you will be sure to find this bag in my pack.

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    This sack takes bear bags to another level.
  7. Steri-Pen Adventurer Opti– I love my steri-pen because of its simplicity for water treatment. Fill your bottle, dip in your steri-pen and in 90 seconds you have a treated Liter of water.  I appreciate that I don’t have to filter (which is perfect for winter trips when a filter can freeze) or treat with chemicals.  The UV light is effective against bacteria and viruses and protozoa. It also suits my “lighter” weight style at only 3.8oz.

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    Remember, you need a wide mouth bottle for this one to work.
  8. Fire Starter – When matches and lighters may fail you, run out.. or get wet; a fire starter will save the day.  I turn to my Gerber Compact fire starter. I find it throws a good spark, enough to get a campfire going with tinder or to light my pocket rocket.  I lit my very first campfire in the cold, wet of winter on my first try with this trinket.

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    A good item to have on your emergency checklist
  9. Go Pro – Videos, Time-lapse, instant pics.  This camera is a do-all and captures the moment; rain or shine.  While it won’t put out professional quality pics like your DSLR, it has proven to capture some of my favorite memories on the trail and the on the water.. because that’s what it’s all about… being in the moment !

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    My gopro unsuspectingly caught me taking in the magic of  the day between paddle strokes.  Truly in the moment and one of my favorite pics.
  10. Silky Ultra Accel Folding Saw – Did I ever think I would be a saw owner or even bring one backpacking ? Heck no! But I’ve been proven wrong.  Now this saw finds its way into mine, and all my winter backpacking friends packs on the regular. When I’m out on winter trips and sawing up wood (dead or downed trees only people) for a continuous campfire to stay warm, this saw is a must have.  It saws through wood like butter. The blade is replaceable but mine has held up for over two seasons of heavy use. I like that it folds up relativly small, and is small enough that it can hang off my pack.  An invaluable item at a mere 10.5 oz.
Disclaimer: I am not being compensated in any way to recommend these products or companies. It is solely my own preferences and opinions.  And remember, just because I like these products, doesn’t mean you may appreciate the same things as me.  Try new things and see what works best for you ! Happy Hiking. 

4 thoughts

  1. I never know about water treatment. I have a filter that I’ve never used, mainly because it’s too big and bulky for me to want to take it. I have had to use some tablets though. Maybe I should look into UV more.

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    1. I love the uv pen. Simple lightweight and effective. Just make sure you have a wide mouth water bottle! But I always bring tablets as a back up in case the uv pen malfunctions i.e. Batteries die or the bulb quits working.

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